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5 Civil Rights Americans Lost to the COVID-19 Panic

Guards stand next to the U.S. Constitution in the Rotunda of the National Archives in Washington on Sept. 16, 2003. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Do you remember the bill of rights? There are ten rights promised to Americans within it. Since the Chinese WuFlu pandemic hit, Americans have lost half of them and anyone who has studied human history knows the “temporary” loss of human rights is rarely temporary. Here’s a comprehensive list, for those of you keeping track of the recent assaults on civil rights.

1.The First Amendment

The First Amendment is comprised of several rights including the freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, and petition. We’ve lost three of those. Churches have been deemed “non-essential” and closed. Christians have been arrested for praying outside an abortion clinic. Pastors have been arrested for holding services in violation of the government’s orders. The freedom of religion in this country is suddenly gone.

The right to assemble is also gone. Ordered not to gather in groups of more than ten, the people of America are effectively banned from protesting. This is a scary development. One of our most important rights is the ability to let our government know when they have overstepped their authority, like the massive protests we saw in Virginia a few months ago over their attempt to restrict the Second Amendment. We no longer have the right to amass in public to protest our government.

The right to petition is also scrubbed. This is a right that is largely overlooked but hugely important to the defense of liberties. The right to petition means the right to appear before your local government and hold them accountable for their actions. Because of the pandemic panic, all open meetings are now live-streamed and the public’s access to their officials is effectively cut off. Some municipalities are offering the public the chance to submit their comments in writing to the various boards, but that is not nearly as effective as telling off your representatives to their faces, recording it, and broadcasting it to the rest of your town. In fact, public comment is the thing that most public bodies hate more than anything else and would be thrilled to do away with it. Look for major restrictions to last through this shutdown as elected officials get used to having a break from angry constituents.

2. Freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures

All over this country, police are stopping Americans to check their “papers” to see if they are “essential workers” or not. In some places, like Pennsylvania, citizens are being ticketed if they leave their homes without proper permission from authorities. Stopping American citizens and questioning their business is an unreasonable search. It leads to unlawful acts like fining a person for just driving her car.

It’s also worth noting that Google has released our anonymized location data to the government so they can track our movements.

3. Right to a speedy trial

With the courts operating under major restrictions, the right to a speedy trial is in serious doubt. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered all trials postponed for thirty days along with courts in Florida, Michigan, New York and more. The people on trial are being denied their rights. This will lead to longer incarcerations for people who may be innocent. While that problem may not affect you, there’s a reason our founders put it in the Constitution. Abuses in our judicial system are not to be taken lightly, and suspending rights of Americans is a serious and consequential act that will have long-lasting effects. This leads to the loss of the next right.

4. Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments

It is cruel and unusual to hold innocent people under the law without trial dates. Some of the people in these situations have been released, to the great consternation of citizens who are afraid that criminals will be let loose. There is a balance, however, between what makes us feel safe and what is lawful. It is not lawful to hold people in jail without a trial. The rights of the accused are an integral part of our judicial system. Without those rights, then any person can be incarcerated for any reason for any length of time at the sole order of a judge. Is that what we want?

5. The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

While this right is not listed in the Bill of Rights and instead appears in the Declaration of Independence, it covers all of our rights in a general sense and should be considered under attack. I have heard from friends who have been stopped at the border of their state and turned back by police; people with out-of-state plates turned away from grocery stores over the border that have supplies they need and can’t get in their own state; and people whose livelihoods are being destroyed by government edicts with no end date in sight.

The battle we are in with this virus is not the economy versus lives, as Rush Limbaugh pointed out on his program on Friday, but lives versus lives. The lives of those not impacted by the virus are being impacted by the shutdown in a way that is every bit as terrifying as death—they are facing the death of liberties and a way of life. Some of us fear those losses more than death. Losing our liberties and the right to provide for ourselves will cause poverty, suicide, murder, chaos and more.

The pious who claim to be saving lives by destroying the lives of a vast majority of Americans refuse to acknowledge that is what they are doing and instead point their fingers at the concerned and accuse us of being cold-hearted. But it is a fact that they have singled out most of the population for destruction. Someone is going to suffer. Currently, your government has made the decision that it’s going to be you and your liberties that must suffer for the possibility that they can save some people who are sick with a virus that most people recover from. There is no plan in place to save those of you who become sick from worry, depression, poverty, and the chaos the government and the experts have created.

Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo,” and host of The Fringe podcast. Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter